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God bless the cloud. When my phone took one bounce of the deck of the boat last week before plunging into the depths of Lake Michigan I had no idea what had all backed up to the cloud before it offed itself. Thankfully, upon returning home I found all of the photos I had taken on Mackinac Island safely delivered to my computer, so although I’ll be having serious communication issues for a bit, at least my photos are safe.

I write about the gardens on Mackinac Island pretty much every year and although I didn’t get to many of them, I did spent a fair amount of time wandering around one of my favorites at the Hotel Iroquois.

Mackinac Island garden 2015
The entrance garden, looking toward the street.

The garden is designed and maintained by Jack Barnwell Landscaping, which is located on the island and responsible for pretty much all of the flowers downtown as well as at many of the lavishly landscaped private gardens on the island.

The bulk of the garden is made of annuals, which comes as no surprise as its a Proven Winners Signature garden. There are some perennials that help create a framework of the garden.

Boxwood are accented with begonias in every bright color imaginable.
This shady corner by the entrance is one of my favorite spots in the garden. Ferns, lamium, hostas and a birch mingle nicely together. I’m quite taken with the lamium as a groundcover.

This is a bright garden. I’m not sure if such a colorful palette would work everywhere but it certainly works on Mackinac Island and definitely on this particular property. The natural palette here is the light blue of the Michigan sky, a darker blue of Lake Michigan, green grass and the white building, so the color is dynamic in this setting. The gardens flank the entrance to the Carriage House restaurant and wrap around the back where (at least when I go there), tables are set up on the grass for al fresco dining.

This garden is on the dining room side. There were tons of ‘Meteor’ verbena bonariensis in the beds, a new plant that I’m also trialing in my window box this year. So far it’s my favorite new plant of the year and I absolutely love the look of it in these beds. 
The most beautiful outdoor dining chairs ever. I looked them up when I got home. For a cool $1,000 or so per chair, they too can be yours.
I’ve been talking a lot about Tiny Tuff Stuff hydrangea and there were several planted in the garden. Although they were in need of a little bit of deadheading, I wasn’t as taken with them as I anticipated I would be.

Long planter boxes flank the edge of the water next to the ferry dock.

This container planting was a dark but cheery at the same time. 
Only on Mackinac Island are the gardens so magical that a cedar tree can literally grow out of a rock.

On the back side of the property, weigela is a beautiful backdrop for purple and red flowers.

The front of the hotel was mostly planted with dahlias.

Farther down the street, another restaurant had interesting window boxes (that I’m 99% sure were planted by Jack’s crew). The were mostly intriguing to me because of the surprising addition of ‘Summer Shandy’ hops on the ends. I think it’s a great idea for a different plant to bring a lime color to a box.

That’s it for my annual review of some of the plantings on Mackinac Island. Here are some of my posts about the gardens on the island from past year (and most feature the Hotel Iroquois gardens so you can see how they change from year to year).

The Iroquois Hotel garden is always a stop on the Grand Garden Show on Mackinac Island every year. Jack Barnwell also takes attendees on tours of some of his most impressive private gardens as well. I’ve not attended but one of these years I absolutely must.

And I leave you with the very last picture ever taken on my phone, snapped just minutes before it took the big plunge, looking back after passing under the Mackinac Bridge.

2 Responses

  1. I see some of my new favorite annual, laurentia "Beth's Blue", in there. I don't know how new it is, but new to me this year. I love it. Also love those chairs. I have a similar set for indoors I got for $150. There are always deals to be had on chinoiserie as the (foolish) people who hate it REALLY hate it. And deem it with little value. Just keep it on your radar. It'll show up a few months after you give up.

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